Kirby's Star Stacker (Game Boy)
Kirby's Star Stacker is a puzzle game and a Kirby spinoff released on the Game Boy in 1997. Playing similarly to Dr. Mario, this game tasks the player to line up stars in a grid between Kirby's Animal Friends to "stack them" and remove them from the board, in order to prevent them from overflowing the board and forcing a loss.
Kirby's Star Stacker is compatible with the Super Game Boy, which gives the game a wider range of colors and also adds a special border around the screen, much like Kirby's Dream Land 2. Kirby's Star Stacker was later ported to the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in 2011 for Japan, 2012 in Australia and Europe, and lastly 2013 in North America. The game also received a Japan-exclusive remake on the Super Famicom, also known as Kirby's Star Stacker.
|“||Kirby needs to stack the Stars. With three close friends, Rick, Kine, and Coo, you can help!||”|
— Kirby's Star Stacker Instruction Booklet (North American print), page 2
The game is a puzzle game in the basic style of Tetris. Domino-like groups of two connected blocks, which can be controlled with the directional pad and turned with the A and B buttons, fall from the top of the playing field one by one, eventually landing at the bottom of the field or on top of other blocks. Once the blocks have landed, the domino breaks up, and each block is individually affected by gravity. Six types of blocks exist in the game: three Friend Blocks are based on the Animal Friends from Kirby's Dream Land 2 (Rick the Hamster, Kine the Sunfish and Coo the Owl), Star Blocks, Bomb Blocks, and Hard Blocks. The goal is to score stars by placing one or more Star Blocks between two matching Friend Blocks, which will then cause both the Friend and Star Blocks to disappear, adding to the score total on the right-hand side. Hard Blocks and Bomb Blocks can likewise be sandwiched between Friends, the former transforming into Star Blocks, and the latter destroying the row of blocks they are on when this is done.
In order to achieve greater numbers of star points, Chains have to be utilized; if destroying a group of blocks leads to a chain reaction of other groups being destroyed, this counts as a Chain. Every Chain that is achieved causes a group of stars to fall into gaps between blocks and be added to the star point counter, their number starting at two but increasing with each Chain, up to a maximum of twelve. If these stars end up sandwiched between Friend Blocks when they land, they turn into Star Blocks, causing another group of blocks to be destroyed and the combo to continue; stars that land in positions where it would not be beneficial for them to transform into blocks simply disappear.
Apart from the blocks that fall from above slowly piling up unless destroyed, King Dedede regularly pounds the ground with his fist and causes a new row of blocks to appear at the bottom and push the already existing blocks upwards; the frequency of this depends on the difficulty level. The game continues until the game mode's victory requirement is met or the two columns in the middle of the screen have reached the top, the latter preventing new dominoes from appearing and causing a Game Over.
In the game there are 4 modes:
- Round Clear - This is the main game, divided into five difficulties (Normal, Hard, Very Hard, Super Hard and Insane, with Insane needing to be unlocked); each difficulty having its own number of rounds. To complete each round, a set number of Stars must be stacked. Each difficulty has its own theme, ranging from a forest to a mountain range. When a round is completed, the player is then rewarded with special artwork based on the theme of the difficulty and depicting Kirby and his friends. This mode pits Kirby against King Dedede, who taunts Kirby with an opening line at the start of each difficulty.
- Time Attack - As many Stars as possible must be stacked within a 3-minute time limit. Tick-Tock Jr. appears in place of King Dedede in this game mode.
- Challenge - An endless mode in which the objective is to gain as many stars as possible before the middle stack of blocks touches the top of the screen; Dedede's hand lifts up the set of blocks, introducing a new row. Similarly to Round Clear, the player is rewarded with in-game artwork depending on the number of Stars collected, in order to encourage trying harder next time until the final picture is received. Mr. Star appears in place of King Dedede in this game mode.
- VS - A multiplayer mode for two players via the Game Link Cable. Player 1 controls Kirby, Player 2 controls Waddle Dee. The winner is decided when the other player receives a Game Over.
There is also a high score table for Challenge, and Time Attack mode, showing the top 3 scores for each.
- Notably, the Super Game Boy border for this game changes its design once the player has attained 100% completion. This is the only game in the Kirby series to have its Super Game Boy border behave this way.
Names in other languages
Kābī no Kirakira Kizzu
|Kirby's Sparkling Kids|
- Official Japanese site (archived from the Wayback Machine)
- Kirby's Star Stacker on Kirby Informer
- English manual (external archive)